My primary research interests involve parenting, child care, and children's social and cognitive development. I am currently collaborating with other researchers at UNCG on the STAR project examining emotional and cognitive contributions to early school success (for more information, see http://www.star4kids.org/). I also contribute to the RIGHT Track project, a longitudinal study of children's social behavior (http://www.uncg.edu/~psycap/righttrack.html). I am also interested in parenting and family adaptation when a child is diagnosed with a developmental disability, and published a book for professionals who work with families of children with autism, Beyond the Autism Diagnosis (http://www.brookespublishing.com/store/books/obrien-7519/index.htm). For the last 15 years I have been one of the investigators for the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development, a national longitudinal study of more than 1,200 families from 10 locations around the U.S. For more information about this study, see http://secc.rti.org.
At UNCG, I am the Director of the Family Research Center (www.uncg.edu/frc), where faculty and graduate students conduct research on a wide range of issues involving families and children. I teach graduate courses in social development and research methods.
I also serve the School of Human Environmental Sciences (http://www.uncg.edu/hes/) as Associate Dean for Research. In this capacity, I work to enhance the School's scholarship and research mission.